Broadly speaking, there are two kinds of songs that most rap songs can be categorized into: pride songs and hype songs. Pride songs are those songs where the artist talks about their upbringing, their living situations, and their past. Basically, these songs carry a piece of the artist with them. On the other hand, hype songs are there to, well, hype you up. These are your swag-flaunting bangers that the rapper can pull out in a moments notice to inject some energy back into the crowd. Anything to get people moving again. Although most songs can nearly fit into one of these categories, it takes some special skill to pull the best from both sub-genres. Luckily for Brisbane-based rapper Chong Ali (Minh Nguyen), that’s where his newest single “Yeah Bruss” succeeds.
As a Vietnamese-Australian rapper, Ali’s been making the rounds by performing at small local festivals in his native city. Although his backlog contains some good starts (he’s released four official singles so far), “Yeah Bruss” is Ali’s first song that seems ready for major airplay.
Ali seems as confident as ever, finding his flow (there are some stumbles in some of his previous songs) and proudly repping his dual heritage as an Asian-Australian. “Yeah Bruss” tells the story of his multicultural neighborhood (“off the Oxley”), allowing him to rep his “anh em”s, his brothers and sisters with the “straw hats”, “sarongs”, and “burkas”, and those mommas “cussin’ in [their] mother tongues”. Within a few verses, Ali paints the picture of a multiethnic Brisbanian neighborhood that is universal for any second-generation Asian living in a Western country. He’s unashamedly proud of where he’s from and he wants the world to know it.
Centered around a growling Aussie slang-ridden hook (I had to look up what “Bruss” meant) and an anthemic chorus (“That’s how we do it round here!”), “Yeah Bruss” also manages to hit that hype-anthem sweet-spot.
Similarly, the music video for “Yeah Bruss” finds Ali rapping in various places around his city. Instead of the usual sheen that comes with rap music videos, Ali chooses to shoot in an Asian fish market, the back of a restaurant, and graffiti-laden shacks. There’s so much pride here for Ali’s hometown here–blemishes and all–and “Yeah Bruss” does it justice.
Li-Wei Chu is a recent graduate from UC Davis who majored in Cinema and Digital Media who also briefly studied film at Queen Mary, University of London. Li-Wei is obsessed with horror films (especially the ones that give him nightmares), films from East Asia, and really, any film that makes you stop and think.
He loves talking about film and indie music with others. He’s also a record collector and cross-stitches when he has free time. In the future, he hopes to be able to write about film and wants to find a job in the film industry that can support his record buying habits. Maybe one day he’ll also be able to play the guitar.